(A Dramatic Monologue)
“Have you packed your things? It’s summertime and beginning tomorrow you’ll be staying with your grandma for a couple of months again.” That was my mother.
Oh my, it’s another summer devoid of excitement. For sure, I’l be like a bird again caged in our ancestral house in the province with my authoritarian grandma. In the military, soldiers obey first before complaining, with my grandma, ahhh, obey always…never complain. It’s back to the dark ages… no cellphone…no internet…but a lot of household chores and garden works.
A few minutes later, my father arrived from work. He went straight to the masters’ bedroom. I sensed trouble. Normally, upon arriving, he would lovingly buzz my mom’s cheek and demand from me the tightest of embrace.
“Mom, what’s the matter? I inquired. My mom shrugged her shoulders off and retorted, “I really don’t know. He’s probably tired. Come, let’s talk to him.”
My dad was lying on bed still on his business attire. He was blankly staring at the ceiling. My mom sat on the right side of the bed while I sat on the left. It took sometime before mom was able to convince dad to talk. What he said left both me and my mom dumbfounded. Dad told us that their company declared bankruptcy and he’s unemployed. Even at my young age I comprehended the implications of what he said.
When Mom regained composure she said, “Well, life has to go on. Find another job. In the meantime, our savings will get us through. “ My dad sat beside my mom. He embraced her and told her how sorry he was for not telling her that he used our savings to buy some stocks in the company, just like what the other employees did, hoping that it would save their company. But to no avail. My mom got mad, pushed my dad back and said, “How could you do that? Why didn’t you tell me? What will happen to us now?
Heated exchange of words ensued. My parents lost control, I could see my family slowly being torn apart right before my eyes. But that can’t be. I must do something. “Mom, dad, enough please. “ That was the first time I shouted at my parents. I was sorry but I had no choice. They stopped and stared at me. I just found myself taking their hand and asking them to hold each other’s hands as well. Then I told them that we will kneel together to pray. Hesitatingly they heeded my request. I led the prayer.
“Dear God, we’ve got a big problem. My father lost his job, but we still have each other. We lost our money, we may also lose this house eventually and all the comforts we are accustomed to. But I don’t care, what is important oh God is that I still have my dad, I still have my mom, and all of us are alive and healthy, and most of all we still have you. I believe so firmly what my grandma told me about you God, that You love us and that you will never abandon us, that in times of difficulties you would never fail us. This we pray humbly in the sweetest name of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.”
Silence engulfed the room after that. Then mom and dad tightly embraced me. They both apologized to me. After a while, I left the room. I felt they must talk things over.
I finally realized the wisdom in the things grandma did to me. Even if there were maids in our ancestral house, she would asked me to help in cleaning the house and the yard, she taught me to perform household chores. She taught me to responsibly spend money and live modestly. If ever my parents decide to let go our maids, well, I am ready. If I need to live a simple life until my father finds another job, no problem at all. My grandma taught me well.
I remember how grandma strictly enforced upon me to pray upon waking up in the morning, before sleeping at night, before meals and just about anytime. She kept telling me that praying is so important in life because everything else may fail, but never God’s love.
Funny, but I just got exited at the prospect of spending another summer with my grandma. I can’t wait to see her.
Do you want to know why I have this bloody knife in my hand? I just slashed the throat of a beast. Yes, a beast! No! That beast is neither a wolf nor a wild pig! Not even a bear. That beast is my neighbor – Mang Tomas. Why I did it? He raped and killed his 10-year old daughter. Would you call him a human being? No! He wasn’t. He was a beast. So, I butchered him. And if among you there are beasts clothed as humans… wolves in sheep’s clothing… then beware. Beware of me.
Do you wish to know who I am? Listen!
My father was a communist rebel. He was brutally peppered with bullets, ironically by his own comrades, when he attempted to give up his armed struggle against the government. We were not completely orphaned though. My mother is still alive. Unfortunately, she is currently languishing in prison abroad. That is for cutting the throat of her Arab employer who tried to molest her.
I do have an elder brother, a fugitive of the law. He is a drug pusher. He is hiding from a pack of beasts called police. That is the only job a high school drop-out like my brother could have. A job he was forced to embrace to support our needs. My elder sister is a vendor. She vends her own flesh. Yes, she is a prostitute. And our youngest brother, our five-year old angel, my only source of inspiration is… dead. He died of pneumonia and malnutrition.
Before he died, he asked me a question, a question I never thought an innocent five-year old boy would ask — “why has our family suffered so much?” I answered his query with a deafening silence. I groped for an answer to a question that I myself have asked God several times. He tightly held my hand before breathing his last. He looked at me intently. In his eyes was a plea for me to do something so that others my no longer suffer the tragedy of my family. He smiled at me before closing his eyes. That smile remains frozen in my memory.
That very day, I took this caliber .45 that my father gave me. By my brother’s grave I vowed: “I will cleanse society of dregs and scums…whoever pushed my father to embrace rebellion, made my mother decide to go abroad, taught my brother to take and push drugs, forced my sister to become a whore, and caused my brother to die a lonely and untimely death, will pay a dear price. I vowed to slaughter and deliver them all to hell.
Since undertaking this crusade, I have already killed several people, some scumbugs are gone from the face of the earth. Killing them came surprisingly easy. They were all unsuspecting for who would thought that behind this boyish look is a brutal vigilante.
My first victim was physician. Imagine how inconsiderate that greedy doctor could be. “Doctor, my brother is dying… But Doc, I don’t have money… Doc have mercy… Doc please! He refused to treat my sick brother saying his hospital is not a charitable institution. Then came the tricycle driver, our neighbor, who helped me bring my little brother to the hospital. “Please lend me money, they wouldn’t treat my brother without a deposit.” “What! You would lend me money only if I would…?” He told me that my sister has repeatedly agreed to that kind of agreement each time he would lend her money. When I refused and told him that I can not even pay that ride, in anger, he punched me in the face and kicked me several times.
Where are they now? In shallow graves! I gave each of them nasty holes in their skulls.
Right now, worms are heartily feasting on their corpse.
Before I brought my brother to the hospital that day, he asked if he could eat something. I rushed to the store: “Can I have some biscuits please, my bother is very hungry. Please… I promise to pay soon. The owner refused citing our unpaid debts. He even cursed me. There was a usurer in our place. From him I asked also for help. Unfortunately, he demanded to have a night or two with my sister in return.
Those two were disciples of Satan. So, what I did? I brought hell right on their doorsteps. I burned their houses while they were asleep. They were roasted alive.
I also murdered a well-known politician. That honorable gentleman who promised to build roads, bridges and school buildings. Those promises were never fulfilled.
Just a week ago I saw him in a brand new car parked in a dark alley, would you believe, my brother, yes my dear drug pushing brother, handed to him several wads of money. The following day, I saw that same politician in another brand new car entering a motel. The woman with him was my sister. Yes my whoring sister.
Guess what I did! Just the other day, while the honorable gentleman was in his car, waiting probably for someone, I detonated the bomb I placed right under the driver’s seat. His body was mutilated beyond recognition.
Now look at me… look at me… I said look at me!!!
Is this the way you want me to advocate social change. Is this the way we should change society?
Should my way be the way?
Is there any other way?
When our teacher in Character Formation took a leave of absence, Ms. Dimaculangan was hired as substitute. Actually, she is good. She has mastery of the subject, fun to be with, very energetic, and never boring. She could have been a great teacher…. except for one thing…
“Good morning class! Let’s begin right away. What do we have for today? Hhhmmm! Aha… you have an assignment. I told you to find some quotations related to INTEGRITY. You will be called one by one in front. You will recite the quotation, recognize the author… then after that… what do you do… EXXPPLAINN. Is that clear? Hhhmmm…. What? Are you asking why you need to acknowledge the author? To avoid PLAGIARISM (mispronounced)….”
Then I told her… “Ma’am it’s PLAGIARISM.”
“Ahh… PLAGIARISM… Okay… sorry… I’m only human.”
“Now … let’s have first…. KULLLAASA… Stand up Kulasa. Begin! Acknowledge the author first… to avoid PLAGIARISM…
“Ma’am… My quotation was from… from…”
“From who Kulasa? Why can’t you say it?”
“From Fran… Francois (mispronounced)?”
“What Francois (mispronounced)? Spell it.”
“Ha, ha, ha… That’s Francois (mispronounced also)… my Gosh…”
I smiled again and had to tell Ma’am that it’s Francois. Ahh, that’s my role in her class. To watch out for her pronunciation and grammar. Glad that she would never take offense whenever I correct her.
“Hhhmmm! Kulasssaa! According to the expert, that’s Francois.”
“Okay Ma’am, you really are very good.”
“Don’t say that anymore Kulasa… I know that already… But thanks anyway.”
“My quotation is from Francois Demetry. It reads… “Prosperity achieved by losing integrity is shameful.” Ah Ma’am… Did I read properly all the words? You are my idol in pronunciation and grammar. I mean… you know.”
“Kulasa, are you insinuation something.”
“Then I said.. Ahh, Ma’am shouldn’t that be insinuating?”
“Yeah… yeah… I know…. I mean, are you insinuating something”
“No Ma’am. I’m only telling the truth. You really are my idol! Ma’am… do I still need to explain the…”
“Not anymore… it’s self-explanation.”
The class had a good laugh again.
Then Kulasa blurted… “Correction Mam, that’s not “self-explanation…” but “self-explanatory.”
In the midst of the laughter of my classmates I saw how delighted was Ms. Dimaculangan. I started to suspect something. It seemed that she was committing all those boo-boos in pronunciation and grammar on purpose.
Then that night I chanced upon a public service show on TV. I could not be mistaken, one of the resource persons was Ms. Dimaculangan. I almost fell off my seat when I heard our substitute teacher dished out perfect English in a distinct British accent, with impeccable grammar, pronunciation and enunciation. I could not believe what I heard and saw. It was a totally different Ms. Dimaculangan.
I was right with my observation, she intentionally committed those grammatical slips and mispronunciations. Probably, to elicit laughter and get our attention. Her ploy was effective. We enjoyed her. Despite her “intentional” bad grammar and pronunciation , we learned a lot from her. I remember that at times when I was not in the mood to check her pronunciation, she herself would do it. I decided not to tell my classmates about my discovery.
After her last meeting with us I approached Ms. Dimaculangan. “Ma’am I saw you on TV one night.
My gosh… Abelgas… you saw me in the boobtube (mispronounced).
Ma’am, it’s “boobtube.”
She just smiled and gave me a wink.